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peter heppnerGruenspan, Hamburg, Germany
1st September 2022
Peter Heppner - Acoustic Tour

There are not many voices in this world that are so unique and immediately recognisable. Especially not among German singers. Four years ago, PETER HEPPNER released two new albums, ‘Confessions & Doubts’ and ‘Tanzzwang’, with which he is now touring. Accompanying him is his live band which has already proven itself during his last concert tour. Unfortunately, the planned “Acoustic Tour” had to be postponed several times due to the COVID-19 pandemic. But now, it was finally happening…

“We are happy to present you the PETER HEPPNER Acoustic Tour 2020, oh no 2021, no 2022” - Peter joked from the stage of the decadent Gruenspan Club in the heart of Hamburg, where the long-awaited tour started. There was real magic going on in the club that night. And at the beginning of the concert, there was such silence and stillness that I was scared to press the camera trigger. Everyone seemed to turn their heads in my direction. Then all the instruments - guitar, piano, and drums - sounded in unison and merged with Peter’s crystal-clear voice (he is a two-time Echo Award winner for a reason) and my tension dissipated like smoke. The smoke that Peter seems to love so much.

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“We’re smoking on stage here purely for the atmosphere. You don’t need to repeat that at all,” - Peter underlined ironically, having previously lit up a cigarette with his irreplaceable keyboard player Dirk Riegner. Peter always plays acoustic concerts sitting down, and there is always a small table next to him with a glass of red wine on it. Next to it, a cigarette is slowly smouldering in an ashtray. And Peter quietly turns over the notes, page after page, hypnotising the audience with his incredible voice, giving a quick look at the audience and the band. Before Heppner made his solo debut in 2008 with the Top 10 album ‘Solo’, he was known as the frontman of one of the most successful and influential acts in recent local music history. With the Electro Pop and Darkwave band WOLFSHEIM, he was able to record numerous hit singles (including ‘Kein Zurück’, ‘Once In A Lifetime’) as well as reach top positions in the album charts. Live, WOLFSHEIM headlined major festivals and played sold-out tours in Europe and the USA.

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It was with the first WOLFSHEIM albums that my love for Peter’s music started and continues to this day. Peter’s concert was a long-time dream, and dreams as you know have to come true, otherwise it is no fun to live. On this magical evening in Hamburg and finally got to hear ‘Die Flut’ live, an extremely popular song recorded once with JOACHIM WITT and the beginning of an impressive series of works, ‘Leben I Feel You’ (2004) from the Ambient-Pop project SCHILLER, ‘Wir sind wir’ created together with DJ PAUL VAN DYK, ‘The Sparrows and the Nightingales’, the calling card of WOLFSHEIM, and of course the songs from ‘Tanzzwang’ - ‘…und ich tanz’, ‘Once Again’, etc. Also, an unexpected musical surprise was the song ‘Surabaya Johnny’, whose lyrics were written by German dramatist, poet, and novelist Bertolt Brecht.

“Surabaya-Johnny
Warum bin ich nicht froh?
Du hast kein Herz, Johnny
Und ich liebe dich so”

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According to Peter, he often heard this song on the radio when he was a child and came home. In addition, indeed it perfectly captures the spirit of Peter’s hometown Hamburg of the GDR times. Despite being clearly anchored in WOLFSHEIM’s long-standing influences from the Electronic Pop field, the songs of Heppner impress with breath-taking stylistic as well as emotional diversity. The range of moods from melancholic to hopeful to rebellious and exuberantly cheerful is illustrated by the consistent integration of elements from rock and new wave to the o current dancefloor and ambient sounds. In this diversity and multiplicity is the secret of the success of PETER HEPPNER’s work. He is faithful to his principles, his sense of atmosphere and concept, but goes with the times.

Setlist
01. Unloveable
02. Care for You (Wolfsheim song)
03. Meine Welt
04. Leben... I Feel You (Schiller song)
05. Künstliche Welten (Wolfsheim song)
06. Once in a Lifetime (Wolfsheim song)
07. The Sparrows and the Nightingales (Wolfsheim song)
08. And I... (Wolfsheim song)
09. Once Again
10. Good Things Break
11. Wir Sind Wir (Paul van Dyk & Peter Heppner cover)
12. Die Flut
13. … und ich tanz’
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14. Surabaya Johnny
15. Was bleibt
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16. Herz (Metropolis)
17. Kein Zurück (Wolfsheim song)

Rating
Music: 10
Performance: 9
Sound: 10
Light: 9
Total: 9.5 / 10

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All Pictures by Iryna Kalenska
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